Characteristics of single particles sampled in Japan during the Asian dust-storm period

C.-J. Ma, Mikio Kasahara, Robert Höller, Tomohiro Kamiya

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To investigate the characteristics of Asian dust storm particles as single particles in Japan, we measured morphology, composition and concentration of single particles using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) coupled with an energy dispersive X-ray microanalyzer (EDX), particle induced X-ray emission (PIXE) and micro-PIXE. Particles were sampled in Kyoto, Japan from the middle of April to the end of July 1999. Mass concentration in Asian dust–storm events was roughly 3–5 times higher than that of the highest concentration measured in non-Asian dust storm seasons. Single particles were generally sharp-edged and irregular in shape and contained mostly crustal elements such as Si, Fe, Ca and Al. Particles which have more than 40% Si content comprised nearly 50% of coarse single particles in Asian dust storm events. Main concentration range of Al in single Asian dust storm particles was 10–20%, and those of Ca and Fe were below 10%. Even though S and Cl in soils of the desert and loess areas in northwest of China were not detected, significant concentration of S and Cl in coarse fraction in Asian dust storm event were detected in single particles. Especially, the maximum concentration of S in Asian dust storm event was about 5 times higher than that in non-Asian dust storm days. Every single particle in coarse fraction existed as the mixing state of soil components and S. Good agreement between the results of SEM–EDX analysis and that of micro-PIXE analysis was obtained in this study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2707-2714
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001


  • Asian dust storm
  • Long-range transport
  • Micro-PIXE
  • Mixing state
  • Single particle


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